America at a crossroad

All week, Burubudurthe PBS has been broadcasting an excellent series about the challenges we face in the world, particularly the conflicts between the religious and the secular worlds. Watching the series, I thought that the name of the series was a bit unfortunate: The majority of the independently produced movies do not all concentrate on specific US affairs. Yesterday, the series kicked off with an hour long documentary by Irshad Manji.

The second part was dedicated to Indonesia, in which the country was held as an example of religious tolerance and moderation despite the general view Westerners have of that country. That was apparently until (ironically) the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1999. That page linked above, points to some excellent background information on Indonesia (NYT!).

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8 Responses to America at a crossroad

  1. Marian says:

    I’m a little annoyed with Irshad Manji who is a Canadian who has lately been trying to pass herself off as an American. From the Globe and Mail:

    “It was the following morning that PBS presented America at a Crossroads. Manji is asked many questions about the series, the repercussions from the invasion of Iraq and the mood among Muslims.
    Her response to almost every question begins, “We . . .,” and it seems she means, “We Americans. . . .” At one point, she even says, “We tend to forget in this country. . . .” The entire audience believes Manji is an American by this point. MacNeil jokes to Manji, “Richard could give you a membership card in the neo-cons of America.”
    It is only late in the discussion that MacNeil, a shrewd and veteran journalist, realizes that he should point out that both he and Manji are Canadians. Manji looks vaguely crestfallen, her stalwart efforts at being an American pundit being undermined. Finally, she says, “I say this as a Canadian. I am very proud to be part of this American series.”

    I suppose that episode, in itself, is not a problem. It’s just that it seems to be part of a pattern. I think Manji’s mother is probably a moderate Muslim, but Manji herself comes across as an opportunist, i.e., someone who is saying what a lot of Americans want to hear from Muslims. I thought the scenes with her mother were kind of revealing. You could see that her mother was biting her tongue and trying not to roll her eyes.

  2. Arthur says:

    I was a a kind of offended when she showed disbelief when a 16 year old Dutch Morrocan rapper was asked about his opinion about the death of Van Gogh. He tried to point out that both sides were to blame for creating an explosive situation but it didn’t come out right because of his broken English.

  3. alfons says:

    He tried to point out that both sides shared blame
    I am a bit stunned overhere.

  4. alfons says:

    Hmm, forgot to change my link…

  5. Arthur says:

    He tried to point out that both sides shared blame

    Poor wording my side: This was actually, a kid who apparently is known for trying to create a dialogue between Dutch moslims and Dutch people. It was an awkward interview where at the end, a stumbling kid was presented as a disillusionated moslim in the ‘ghetto’ of Amsterdam.

  6. alfons says:

    Poor wording my side.
    So what did the Morrocan boy tried to say?

  7. Arthur says:

    He disapproved the killing but when pressed, he could imagine why it happened and that all in broken English. Extremely awkward and lightly embarrassing.

  8. Arthur says:

    Yeah, I guess the best word for that documentary was ‘awkward’ and ‘shallow’. It curled my toes quite often, so to say. Quite the opposite compared to the documentary that followed right after that.

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